I once heard 'Paris is tough for vegans'. Pah! Parisians are embracing not only veganism but health. Ok, so I'm not saying that every inhabitant of the French capital is denouncing meat and jogging to the Patisserie, but if the legion of Bio and health food stores spread over the city are a marker then I'd say that Parisians are mindful of their diet and the origins of their food. Artisan vegan cheese makers are rising in number and developing delicious flavours. The near future is bound to bring Dairy Free Fromageries to our shopping experience. I found, like so many I've visited recently, is very vegan and gluten free friendly.
I was grateful to Happy Cow, et al (whom I will document in Paris Part 2)who list all the vegan eateries in the city. I grabbed my Euros (and I needed many. Paris is SUPER expensive!…Seriously Paris, 4 Euro for a cup of green tea!? Hanging out and people watching is certainly not a cheap pastime). I was impressed with what was on offer. After ten days of feasting and vacillation, these are definitely best five vegan meals, or at least dishes, I enjoyed on this trip. I'll share the others in the next post. The top five are in no particular order. All the dishes are gluten free.
In my hunt to bring you the best vegan 'junk' food joint in Paris I discovered Hank Burgers Bio. I use junk loosely rather than a reality of the food. A fill up at Hanks manages to deliver HUGE flavours. The best gluten free burger buns I've tasted..soft and actually like a burger bun. Toppings and sauces that marry perfectly with their meatless bun. And crispy fries that left me contentedly stuffed.
Who's Hank? Well, I asked that of Pierre (the guy on the right) the proud owner of this newly opened burger house (or should I say maison?!) 'I don't know' he replied with a warm smile. Hank is a figment of his imagination and part of the whole branding of his establishment. The small, clean and bright restaurant is situated in the uber hip neighbourhood (arrondissement) of La Marias. Pierre is an earnest new chef, not long wrenched from the world of tech. He is a vegan newbie too. Only having notched up just over a year of meat AND dairy free living. He told me a light bulb went off and not long afterwards Hank Burgers was born. LOVE.
55, rue des Archives
Next up Le Potager Du Marais. This berry crumble nearly made me humbly weep with joy. The perfect balance of tart and sweet with a generous layer of golden crumble. It needed no creamy embellishments. I took an inordinate amount of time to thoroughly devour this dish. I scraped the dish clean and then I mourned it's demise!
Yes, I list the dessert first. The courgette soup, with the lavish side of soft gluten free bread, was watery green vegetable alchemy... transformed into silky, flavoursome soup. But even this palled in comparison to the dessert.
If they injected as much love into the decor as they do their food it would take the dining experience up that final notch.
24 rue Rambuteau
No.3Pousse Pousse(pronounced puss puss..doesn't sound quite so good in it's translation Sprout Sprout). Ah, the French language mellifluous in nature could make a tax return sound like poetry. I loved merely just being in the City, surrounded by these sensual, exotic accents. My efforts to emulate it where poor, but I did try my best. Though even my novice attempts were appreciated, as more than one Parisian told me (in English).
This restaurant, just south of Montmartre, situated in an area being slowly gentrified (where isn't these days?!) has both raw and cooked dishes. My tartelette sans gluten dish had both raw and cooked elements. A host of wonderful flavours and textures on the plate that made eating quite a mindful experience.
The raw dessert was fudge-y, chocolate heaven. Cacao nibs offering a wonderful bitter crunch and the added hazelnut butter battled for attention with the raw cacao. I was transported back to childhood when Nutella was consumed in heaped spoonfuls after a long school day. A little raw fig cracker commanded attention and served as a good reminder to try to eat with delicacy!
All dishes are vegan with lots of gluten free options. I suggest booking ahead as Pousse Pousse's tables are few in number.
7, rue Notre Dame de Lorett,
Cafe Ginger a charming little vegan cafe tucked in a side street, a stones throw from La Bastille. The staff were super friendly and it had a nice relaxed atmosphere. I actually wasn't going to try this place but I'd walked to MOB and found that they were not like their Brooklyn counterparts and had no gluten free options. I hope this changes. Anyway, so I had a quick chat with The Gentle Gourmet who are close by and they recommended Cafe Ginger. It turned out to be a good call.
They had just a couple of gluten free options. I was actually glad the menu was limited because choosing can get exhausting! I chose the vegetable crumble bake. The polenta topping was delicately flavoured and complemented the soft stewed vegetables sitting below perfectly. The plate was dotted with other elements. Sauces, salads, stews, curry's and grains. Like a restrained buffet plate! Great flavours and textures.
The ONLY thing I would say is to make sure your serve knows you are gluten free and it may be worth mentioning with each course just to make sure they remember. The cafe is busy and my server had to be reminded that I was gluten free when running through the choice of desserts with me. I had their raw carrot cake and it was good.
9 Rue Jacques Coeur (metro Bastille)Paris, France 75004
Joint winners take the fifth spot. Each had their own individual merits. I could not choose.
Caroline, owner of The Gentle Gourmet and her staff were so utterly sweet, I could not help but love them for that. I only tried dessert here.
I did forget that 'pastry' means a sweet treat to the French so when I ordered the vegan white Bavarian chocolate pastry I imagined a towering stack of 'buttery' flaky pastry amid clouds of thickly pipped chocolate fondant. I actually got a cheese cake. A delightfully smooth and creamy cheesecake with a gorgeously tart coulis that made this dessert sing.
24 Boulevard de La Bastille (at Place de La Bastille),
109, rue du Faubourg Poissonniere,
Be sure to check out my next post…Paris Part 2. I'll list all the other restaurants I visited and give you options for 'eating in' which can be found in most supermarkets. Also, I will share the great blogs that helped to make my Parisian experience a good one.